Archive for the ‘Living Geek’ Category:
Everyone knows that foamy shelf-liner is great for shelves. We particularly loved this when we lived in California and tiny earthquakes could knock over glasses or slide plates around in the cabinets. Foamy shelf-liner keeps them in place. Read more »
I don’t know anyone who has socks that maintain lasting marriages. Washers and dryers are the bane of sock unity. I know my family hosted years of “Socks without Partners” meetings to no avail. But we finally solved this problem. Read more »
Are you going to an amusement park this summer? Going fishing, canoeing, white-water rafting? If you’re going near water and want to have your cell phone handy, there’s a crazy-easy way to waterproof it. Read more »
I once heard that McDonalds’ coke is better than anyone else’s because they super-cool it. Deciding I wanted to try this at home, I created a super-cooler for beer and canned drinks. It works on the principles of conduction and freezing point depression.
Water freezes at 32F or 0C unless you add a solute (anything dissolved into the liquid). The solute (in this case table salt) disrupts crystal formation, thus making it harder for the water to freeze. With a solution you’ll need a temperature of several degrees lower than 32degrees in order to form those ice crystals.
Many of us use paper napkins at dinner. (I have kids and pets, and would love to switch to cloth, but it hasn’t happened yet.) I also can’t leave napkins out in a holder on the table because of the pets, so we keep ours in the cabinet. However, doing this leads to the napkins getting folded over and scrunched up. So the trick is to turn the packaging into a dispenser . . .
This is really simple, but a great trick. When you put a straw in your soda, you may have noticed the straw always rises, making it really difficult to use. This is usually considered to be because of the carbonation bubbles attaching to the straw and lifting it.
You may have seen this ‘news article’ online a few weeks ago: Men pay more attention to a woman’s hair than her curves. Very few things actually get me to click links these days, but this one did, just because of its absurdity. Who are these ‘men’? I asked myself.
Sure enough, the opening line of the ‘article’ was “In a recent study conducted by Pantene . . .” For those of you who don’t know, Pantene makes shampoo. I read no further, and remained peeved that I had fallen prey to the link. I even complained to a friend that I had done it and he replied that he had too. Only he had followed the link thinking ‘that must have been conducted by some hair product company!’ I was not so smart.
Back when I was an undergrad, my professors always asked me ‘who did the study?’ and I always thought ‘what a stupid question. It’s science, it doesn’t matter.’ But as a grad student I learned that (lo, and behold!) they were right. It does matter.
The graduate lab I worked in had some serious flaws. First, they mocked me for doing my standard deviation math by hand; they had all plugged the data into the computer. I should have gotten the last laugh when I said, “But yours is wrong.” It was, in fact, so wrong that anyone who understood what a standard deviation represented would have seen that theirs was obviously off. But I didn’t get the last laugh: instead, I nearly cried and spent some time perturbed. I would have been perturbed about it longer, but this was thwarted by my professor who asked me to include inadmissible data in the results because it helped support her point.